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Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests

Leonard Hill/High Knob State Forests locator map

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The 1,616-acre Leonard Hill State Forest and the adjacent 1,344-acre High Knob State Forest were purchased for the people of New York State for reforestation, timber production, recreational use, watershed protection and wildlife habitat. Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests feature hunting, trapping and primitive camping opportunities. Hiking is allowed on all state forests but there are no designated trails on this property.

Featured Activities

Fire Tower

fire tower

General information on fire towers includes historic and current uses of fire towers and links to other locations with fire towers

The 80-foot Aermotor LS40 fire tower on Leonard Hill was originally constructed in 1934 in Gilbert Lake State Park, Oneonta County. It was moved to it's current location in 1948 were it was in operation until 1988. The fire tower is currently closed to the public (the bottom stairs were removed).



General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are no primitive campsites; however, at-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Hunting & Trapping


General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests is open to hunting and trapping in appropriate seasons. Big game hunting, especially for white tail deer, is a particularly popular activity on Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests. The area also supports populations of small game such as turkey, squirrel, grouse, rabbit, raccoon, fox, and coyote. Hunting opportunities vary with habitat conditions. By maintaining a diversity of forest types, many different kinds of wildlife species can thrive.


General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.


There are no designated parking areas but road side parking is available in the state forests. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Access High Knob State Forest from Leonard Mountain Road, Cook Road, Shale Pit Road or East Conesville Road.

  • Leonard Mountain Road: (42.449887°N, 74.320039°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Cook Road: (42.451597°N, 74.313568°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Shale Pit Road: (42.425478°N, 74.318417°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • East Conesville Road: (42.417786°N, 74.311127°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Access Leonard Hill State Forest from Broome Center Road, Blueberry Hill Road, Federal City Road or Leonard Mountain Road.

  • Broome Center Road: (42.460754°N, 74.331864°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Blueberry Hill Road: (42.480061°N, 74.330221°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Federal City Road: (42.476686°N, 74.308727°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Leonard Mountain Road: (42.461405°N, 74.346361°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

  • Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

How We Manage Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests

DEC is developing a unit management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

The forests on Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests are managed to provide for recreational opportunities and timber crops while protecting and improving wildlife habitat, water quality, and aesthetics. By periodically thinning the forest through the sale of pulpwood and timber, remaining trees are given more growing space. This helps to keep the forest healthy while providing openings for new seedling growth. A constant supply of new trees provides food for wildlife and is a source of future forest crops.

The stands of pine and spruce on Leonard Hill and High Knob State Forests were originally planted on old farm fields. Seedlings of spruce and pine must be planted in open areas with direct sunlight in order to survive. These stands are usually managed by a series of partial thinnings followed at the end of the growing cycle by a clear cut and replanting. In some cases, if there are enough seedlings present at the end of the growing cycle, it is not necessary to replant after a clear cut. Most people do not find clear cuts attractive for the first two or three years after the mature trees have been removed. However, the openings created by clear cuts provide important elements of habitat for certain wildlife species which would not otherwise be available. Younger plantations, for example, provide cover for wildlife.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Middleburgh and Rensselearville.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby community Middleburgh.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Middleburgh, Preston-Potter Hollow and Rensselearville.

Schoharie County Tourism Office (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.